ESPN analyst and announcer Chris Fowler has seen No. 7 Miami play twice this season and has been impressed with the success head coach Manny Diaz has built around quarterback D’Eriq King.
Top-ranked Clemson hosts the high-flying Hurricanes on Saturday night on ABC with Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit on the broadcast.
Fowler raved about Miami this past Wednesday, but acknowledged the biggest test for its offense will be at Death Valley this weekend.
“D’Eriq King is dynamic,” Fowler said. “I think what we saw from him in the offseason, bringing the leadership and the poise and winning the team over very quickly, and then what he’s done to show these skills sets off whether it’s a run early or a precise passer against Louisville. A bit of both against Florida State.”
King has completed 63-of-94 passes for 736 yards and six touchdowns, while he has rushed 28 times for 157 yards and a touchdown. But what has contributed significantly to Miami’s success in its first three games relates to the play of its offensive line.
The Hurricanes have allowed just three sacks this year but face a significant challenge against a Clemson defense that prides itself on pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
“I have to say though, there’s a much bigger test for him individually Saturday night. And for that group up front, they’ve kept the pocket really clean,” Fowler said. “I think he’s been pressured less than 12-14 percent of his drop backs and when he’s been pressured, he’s not been as efficient as he wants to be, but how successful Clemson can be in getting at him, at exposing what others haven’t yet been able to expose in Miami’s offensive line, that’ll be really key.”
The Tigers have sacked opponents 13 times for a loss of 67 yards and pressured opposing quarterbacks 13 other times this season. Clemson has to get after King and disrupt his flow in order to have success against the Hurricanes on Saturday.
“If he’s got time to look down field, he’s going to have success. And maybe because he is such a challenge to defend, you’ve got to spy him, can’t let them run wild,” Fowler said.
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